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Wake Forest Completes 2020 Season with loss to Wisconsin in Duke's Mayo Bowl

A four-game winning streak in October highlighted the Demon Deacons' run to a program record fifth-straight bowl appearance.
Credit: WFMY News 2 Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Wake Forest football team fell to Wisconsin, 42-28, in the Duke's Mayo Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.

The Deacs are now 15-12 all-time in neutral site games played in Charlotte. It snapped a three-game winning streak in the Queen City that included 2017 Belk Bowl and 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl wins.

A four-game winning streak in October highlighted the Demon Deacons' run to a program record fifth-straight bowl appearance. The streak is the third longest in the ACC, trailing just Clemson and Miami (FL).

Redshirt junior wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson continued to cement his season as one of the best in Wake Forest history. The Murfreesboro, N.C. native caught a touchdown on his first three targets in the game, setting a new career best.

With 131 yards in the game, he became just the third player in program history to have four consecutive 100-yard receiving games, which also tied a program record. He joined Chris Givens in 2011 and Wayne Baumgardner in 1979 who each had streaks of four in their respective seasons.

Despite playing in just nine games this season, Roberson jumped into the top-10 in single season receiving yards. His 926 receiving yards in 2020 is 10th in Wake Forest history. He became the fourth receiver in the last three seasons to crack into the top 10, joining Sage Surratt, Greg Dortch and Kendall Hinton. 

He also now leads the ACC in receiving yards per game with a season average of 102.9 yards per game.

Additionally in the Duke's Mayo Bowl, redshirt freshman wide receiver Donavon Greene had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game, posting six catches for 122 yards (20.3 average). He ended the season with 582 yards on 29 catches (20.1 average). Defensively, redshirt junior linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr. had a career day with a career-best 16 tackles, which included a career-best 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Fellow linebacker Ja'Cquez Williams also finished the afternoon 11 stops and recorded double-digit tackles for the second time this season. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

•    After receiving the ball on the opening kickoff, the Demon Deacon offense set the tone early. A deep shot to Donavon Greene for 36 yards set Wake Forest up in the redzone. A few plays later Sam Hartman found All-ACC selection Jaquarii Roberson for a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Deacs an early lead.

•    After the Wake Forest defense forced Wisconsin into a three-and-out on their first possession, redshirt freshman Taylor Morin hauled in a 46-yard reception down to get the Demon Deacons in the red zone quickly. Again, Hartman found PFF Second Team All-American Jaquarii Roberson in the endzone for an 18-yard score. 

o    That score put Wake Forest in front, 14-0, at the 7:21 mark of the first quarter.

•    The Deacs held the 14-point advantage after one quarter of play as the Badgers did not find the scoreboard until the 13:28 mark of the second stanza.

•    A blocked punt by Wisconsin with a 5:34 left in the first half, gave the Badgers the ball inside of the Wake Forest 10-yard line.  

o    It was the first blocked punt against the Deacs since Oct. 27, 2018 at Louisville.

o    Wisconsin was able to convert, tying the game on a third-down quarterback sneak from one-yard out.

•    The score was knotted at 14-14 at halftime.

•    After forcing a three-and-out to start the second half, Wake Forest got the ball on the 50 yard line. The Deacs scored in five plays as Roberson found the endzone for the third time in the game with 11:11 remaining in the third quarter, tying a Duke's Mayo Bowl record and setting a new career-high.  

o    Roberson had three touchdowns on his first three catches of the game.

•    Undaunted, Wisconsin returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards and the Badgers scored on that possession with 8:45 remaining in the period. 

•    After just Hartman's second interception of the season, the Badgers started with the ball inside Wake Forest territory again. Wisconsin connected on a swing route to the back and took the lead for the first time at 28-21 with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter.

•    After an additional pair of Demon Deacons turnovers, the Badgers were able to push their lead to 42-21 with 9:24 remaining in the 4th quarter.

•    Christian Beal-Smith found the endzone for the fifth time this season with six seconds remaining. 

•    Wake Forest fell, 42-28, on Wednesday.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT 

Redshirt junior wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson tied a Duke's Mayo Bowl record on his first three targets of the game. The Murfreesboro, N.C. native had three catches and three touchdowns on those targets, tying a bowl game record for receiving touchdowns.

He joined Olamide Zaccheaus (Virginia, 2018), Christian Kirk (Texas A&M, 2017) and Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina, 2008). 

He also entered the top-10 in Wake Forest history in single-season receiving touchdowns (8) and single-season receiving yards (926).